The Atlanta Hawks snapped a three-game losing streak on Wednesday evening with a comfortable road win over the Orlando Magic. However, the Hawks were forced to play the entire second half without either John Collins or De’Andre Hunter, both of whom left the game with injury. On Thursday evening, the Hawks announced timetables for both players, with Collins missing two weeks with an ankle and Hunter being out a week with a hip flexor strain.
An @emoryhealthcare injury update (2/2):
De’Andre Hunter also underwent an MRI today at the Emory Sports Medicine Complex. The MRI confirmed a right hip flexor strain. Hunter will be out at least one week and his return to play will be updated as appropriate. pic.twitter.com/iJvcF4EEFM
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) December 2, 2022
Collins went down just before the buzzer at the end of the second quarter in Orlando and had to be helped to the locker room.
John Collins fell on a play at the first-half buzzer and appeared to roll his left ankle. pic.twitter.com/A2YHWxZui6
— Bally Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnBally) December 1, 2022
This is a notable development for many reasons. For one, Collins has consistently been in the trade rumor mill for multiple seasons, including murmurs that began (again) in November. The Hawks are currently in the middle of the Eastern Conference, and Collins is a key piece of their current roster. His counting stats have dipped on offense, though, and the addition of Dejounte Murray and the presence of a pair of non-shooting centers in Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu have thrust Collins into a small-usage offensive role.
With Collins on the shelf, the Hawks also don’t have overwhelming depth at the forward positions, which is part of the calculus for why Collins is still on Atlanta’s roster. 2021 first round pick Jalen Johnson is the incumbent backup power forward, but he missed the last two games with an ankle issue, and the Hawks have also used both Hunter and Justin Holiday as small-ball power forward options. Against Orlando, two-way wing Jarrett Culver got the call at the power forward spot and, in short, any other option is a notable downgrade from Collins.
The Hawks seem to be in a potential state of flux, especially with Collins in the middle of the rumor mill. This could sidetrack that pursuit and, at the same time, make life a lot more difficult for head coach Nate McMillan and company.